Northern & Central Midwest

June, 2011
Regional Report

Remove Bulb Flower Stems

Pinch out or cut out blossom stems from bulbs to prevent seeds from forming which will sap strength from the bulb. Be sure to leave the foliage, though, until it begins to turn off-color. The foliage is still producing food for the bulb and will help the bulb last and continue blooming.

Copper Wire Prevents Fungal Disease

Prevent early blight and Septoria leaf spot on your tomatoes. When the stems are about pencil-thick, insert a one to two inch piece of eighteen gauge copper wire through the base of the stem. The copper releases a steady flow of natural fungicide, reducing and sometimes even preventing these fungal diseases.

Watch for Japanese Beetles

Try to reduce feeding damage now to avoid more serious problems later. Beetles are coppery-green and about half an inch long. They skeletonize the leaves of many sun-loving plants. Hand pick the beetles and drop in soapy water. The bacterial insecticide milky spore, containing (Bacillus popilliae), may give eventual control by killing the grubs that hatch under turf in August, although it may take several years to build up to effective levels.

Tent Caterpillars are Appearing

Tent caterpillars are beginning to show themselves. They come out of their webs at night and crawl back in during the day. You can easily take care of them by clipping out the web and destroying it or spraying into the web with Bacillus thurengiensis, a bacterial pesticide.

Cedar-Apple Rust Galls

Have you seen orange tentacled gelatinous knobs on your junipers? Don't worry. They are simply one phase of cedar-apple rust. The galls are harmless to junipers but can cause rust spots and defoliation of apples, serviceberries, hawthorns, and pears. The only effective control is to remove junipers for several hundred yards from susceptible plants. But usually it's fine to simply leave them alone.

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